SPOILER WARNINGS: Nothing too serious given away, but just wanted to give a fair warning!
One of my biggest video gaming regrets? Deciding that it was a good idea to jump into the Resident Evil universe with the sixth entry of the franchise. Now, maybe that game ended up being awesome. But, for me, it was shut off pretty quickly, and I moved onto something different. Growing up, we had Resident Evil games in the household; my dad was a fan of the series — but, I much preferred throwing Silent Hill 2 into the PlayStation, and getting absolutely terrified by Pyramid Head. So, when Resident Evil 7 was announced, I was pretty damn skeptical. Thankfully, that didn’t stop me from downloading the demo, which in turn, ushered me into buying the game during it’s first week.
Welcome to the Family, Son!
Taking a step into the Baker’s household was like stepping into Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre; the environment resembling that of Leatherface’s domain — and, of course, the Baker family being completely insane and similar to the creepy cast of characters in the Horror film. After a search for significant other, Mia, you quickly notice that something just isn’t quite right with the house, and with well.. Mia. It also doesn’t take long for the protagonist to fall into the clutches of the creepy family.
For me, it was the Bakers that made this game a frightening and exciting experience. And, of course, the fact that this Resident Evil game is in first-person, which forces you to feel as if you’re an actual victim of the family. In the first half of the game, I found myself carefully rounding corners in order to avoid Jack, who appeared to be invincible to any shots in the head, and searching for any clues that may help me find and save Mia.
To be honest, rummaging through the house was the creepiest and best part of the game. It offered a few boss battles — from the garage fight with Jack to the Saw-esque scene with Lucas. And, kept you with that sense of suspense, as you had no clue which Baker will pop up next to make your time a living Hell. Even Granny Baker kept me in fear, as she’d randomly appear in a corner seemingly paralyzed in her wheelchair.
Stepping out of the house was when the game changed direction — and it just didn’t have the same spooky vibe. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the game to the end and that plot twist was pretty shocking, but I wouldn’t have mind wandering the house even longer. I get it — it’d probably be too tiring to keep a nine hour game in one setting, but man, I sure did miss that house once I was aboard the ship in the second half of the game.
Another concept I really enjoyed was the usage of the video tapes. If you checked out the demo, you should be aware of what I am talking about. In all, there are four VHS tapes; 3 being completely optional. Upon finding one, players are able to pop them into a nearby functional VCR, and become submersed into the video. Each tape throws hints to another part of the game, such as ‘Happy Birthday’ which gives you clues to the Lucas puzzles. Choosing to play through the optional video tapes gives you even more jumps and scares, and the old-time coloring of the films just adds to the creepy feel of the game.
Final Words on Resident Evil 7
Of course, there are a few minor gripes that I have — such as the boss battles being kind of weak. My most challenging one was Jack and his damn chainsaw, but outside of that, it was smooth sailing. Granted, this can be seen as a good thing, depending on the player. Limited bag space was also a pain, and I had to constantly return to a lock-box to hold my things.
As mentioned, my history with Resident Evil isn’t a long one, so I can’t compare this one to previous entries, but it was a pretty decent game. It also filled the void of survival horror in my heart that the cancellation of Silent Hills made. I do plan on doing another replay at some point, for completionist purposes, and to check out the DLC that’s already been released.
For those who have played, what did you think about Capcom’s Resident Evil 7?